Entries Tagged 'Journalism' ↓

Morley Safer and His Fact-Checkers Must Have Drank Too Much Vino.


CBS’s 60 Minutes is more than just the longest-running prime-time TV series in any genre, having aired continuously for forty years, since 1968. It’s one of the most renowned and esteemed investigative news programs in the business. They work to get the facts, and to get them accurate, as the flop sweat from those unfortunate enough to get interrogated by these vets has repeatedly proven.

“Gimme a drink!”So, last night, when Morley Safer, one of the show’s foundational journalists, opined sanguinely, calling Florence, Italy-based vintner Marchesi Antinori Srl “perhaps the oldest family business on earth,” I didn’t even blink.

It’s 60 Minutes! Heck, Antinori has been under the same management since 1385. Literally since the Renaissance was brand new. Half a century-plus before Leonardo da Vinci was born.

Then, I did some research. According to my sources, Marchesi Antinori Srl has been up-and-running 623 years, true.

But it’s not “the oldest family business on earth,” or even in Italy. It’s not even the oldest family vintner in Italy. Nor is it the third-, or even the fourth-oldest such business in the world. Not even close.

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‘Nuff Respect Due.

“Anybody wanna scrub their drawers against my abs?”

If L.L. Cool J, above, is not The G.O.A.T.—”Greatest of All Time”—he’s without doubt O.O.T.G.O.A.T.—”One of the Greatest of All Time.”

So, with his 24-year Def Jam contract ending, and only 300 words in The Village Voice to review his 12th studio album, Exit 13, it was a struggle for me to give the work its due, but I’m happy with what I got. Please check it out!

“I will beat you bloody.”Also, Spike Lee’s World War II drama, Miracle at St. Anna, starring Derek Luke, right, is not doing all that well critically (it’s been roundly panned as flat and bloated), or financially: To-date, it’s only taken in $6.6 million of its $45 million production budget.

I enjoyed it, mostly. (The ending…eh.) Even more, though, I enjoyed speaking briefly with Spike for ESSENCE magazine. The piece is not on the web, to my knowledge, but if you can find the October issue—the one with Mo’Nique on the cover, still on the stands, I think, despite the encroaching Beyoncé issue—our Q&A is on p. 80.

The Song Remains the Same.

Resting genius

Whether you love the theater or not, it remains one of the truly, cruelly most ironic dates in the history of the performing arts: Early on the morning of January 25, 1996, after that evening’s final dress rehearsal, Jonathan Larson, 35, the writer and composer of Rent, died in his West Village apartment of an aortic aneurysm.

The play was scheduled to begin its Off-Broadway run the next night, incidentally almost 100 years to the day after the debut of Giacomo Puccini’s opera, La Bohème, which inspired it.

Rent opened on Broadway’s Nederlander Theater quickly afterwards, in the spring of that year. As all now know, but Larson never would, Rent became an astounding success, was made into a film, won several Tony awards, and received the Pulitzer prize. It closed this past Sunday, after nearly 13 years and over 5,000 performances, the seventh-longest running play in Broadway history.

In this somber recollection, Sara Krulwich, who photographed Larson for The New York Times, only to receive the call from her editor as her film was being processed that the composer had died, talks about what she saw that night, as well as the day that Rent won the Pulitzer, sharing her memories of a great talent cut down far too soon.

Greatest Olympian Ever? Really?

Count ‘em.
Michael Phelps, golden boy: Sports Illustrated‘s latest cover

Swimmer Michael Phelps’s devastating performances at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics are literally the stuff of legend, now, with that sport’s meets done. As raves for his outstanding feats continue to pour in—eight gold medals in China, more than any other athlete ever at one Olympics, and fourteen golds total, when adding in his six Athens 2004 wins—the question is being raised everywhere that sports is debated: Is Michael Phelps the greatest Olympian ever?

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“First, They Wet My Face / Now I’m a Believer / Didn’t Leave a Trace / Of Doubt in My Mind.”

Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle: Christopher Hitchens gets inarticulate

While perhaps not exactly an advocate for waterboarding, journalist / pro cynic Christopher Hitchens has certainly been seen as an apologist for the highly debated technique of “information extraction.”

But no one would accuse Hitchens of being uncurious. So, when Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter asked him if he’d like to be waterboarded, then live to tell about it, the doughy, two-pack-a-day smoker leaped at the chance.

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The Thousand-Lie War


Pick your poison….

This story came out earlier in the year but, clearly, has not gotten the traction it deserves, and probably never could: According to a study by the Center for Public Integrity, via Alternet.com, “President George W. Bush and seven of his administration’s top officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, made at least 935 false statements, in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”

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Make It Pain.


I find the exaggerated vocal stylings of news reporters contemptible. Particularly, I dislike the stretchy vowels and odd pitch changes through which African-Americans tend to report TV and radio news. It’s aurally inauthentic, and, I believe, it disarms Black people. It keeps us from utilizing a wide range and sophisticated set of rhythmic and tonal apparatuses by which we comment on information—signify—in real time, as we relate it.

So, it’s fascinating to see, in this clip, how quickly the reporter goes from Standard American Newsman to NSFW Black Vernacular when a chewy, protein-rich insect flies into his mouth.

Hill Country

You go, girl!!
It takes one to know one: Hillary counts on her peeps

I never get tired of news footage that documents blatant racism. Also, when it’s coming from Al-Jazeera English, you know it’s got to be good. It’s going in some direction that the self-congratulatory, corporate U.S. media, still suckling the dry, cracked teat of American exceptionalism, is completely unwilling to go.

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Fire Liz Trotta.

Dump her.

Liz Trotta, the FOX News contributor who joked, yesterday morning, that it would be good if “we” “knock off” Barack Obama, apologized for her comments, today, at the end (2:45 in) of a bit about Clinton’s RFK assassination statement clarification.

“I am so sorry about what happened yesterday and the lame attempt at humor,” said Trotta, in the patronizing tones of the E. 66th St. matron that she is. “I really just fell all over myself in making it appear that I wished Barack Obama harm, or any other candidate, for that matter. I sincerely regret it and apologize to anybody I have offended. It’s a very colorful political season, and many of us are making mistakes and saying things that we wish we hadn’t said.”

Thanks, Liz. We accept your apology, and perhaps the family of Barack Obama will, too.

Now, FOX, fire her.

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The Empire Strikes Back

No chance…
Photo by ProtestShooter.com

“Hillary ain’t never been called a n-gger!”

Have you noticed that, of all Jeremiah Wright’s decontextualized quotes, this one has been completely dropped out of the mediated discussion of his statements?

When USA Today‘s Donna Leinwand, vice-president of the National Press Club, moderated the now-infamous Q&A with him on Monday, she asked him about Farrakhan, AIDS, “chickens coming home to roost,” etc., but not one question about this statement.


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